Thursday, April 2, 2009

AAA look: Dynamite Cop

Dynamite Cop is the first game I'm going to look at for Arcade Appreciation April. Developed by Sega and considered the sequel to Dynamite Deka/Die Hard Arcade the plot involves Bruno from the first game(looking a lot less like Bruce Willis) joined by two new characters(who fit the standard female and minority archetype we've come to expect from the beatemup genre) who take on an old foe to rescue the president's daughter from terrorist pirates.

One of the major issues I have with arcade ports is how can I know if I'm getting the game as I should experience it in the arcades? This question tends to come up quite often in Dynamite Cop. The default game mode is actually quite easy. In fact with regular play I see no reason why anyone can't get a one-credit clear(which will be referred to as 1CC from now until the end of time). The game barely hits the 15 minute mark and DC introduces a rather major design decision that makes getting a 1CC relatively easy.

Unlike most beatemups where if you grab a health item while at max health you gain either a bonus to your score or nothing at all. In Dynamite Cop however(at least in the Dreamcast version) all of the health items you can collect actually stack. This means that you can continue to collect health items and have 2 or 3 times the amount of health that you normally would. Though this is somewhat balanced out by making healing items recover a small amount of life it's not enough to really cover what essentially takes quite a bit of challenge out of the main game. To add to this successfully completing QTEs(which are predictable and quite easy, though you miss out on chances to score more points since there are less thugs to beat up) gives health and another DC-exclusive you can find hidden items for the art gallery(which give health as well). 

It's painfully clear that the original mode in Dynamite Cop is not arcade-perfect. Though it matches up well in terms of graphics & gameplay the addition of Dreamcast-exclusive items like the portraits make the game a bit too easy. Upon clearing the first three scenarios one can access three new ones that change up the gameplay quite a bit. These require the player to deal with more unique scenarios like fighting every battle under a strict time limit or weapon damage is quite a bit higher and without the ability to continue. However this doesn't alleviate the original issue of the lack of a mode that actually stays true to the arcade version.

In any case I'd recommend the Survival mode and/or the special difficulty modes. If nothing else they're at least challenging since you have less health to work with(Survival mode essentially requires that you beat up 100 people with one bar of health) and the other modes take away the ability to find art gallery portraits(and thus gain health from them). 

With all that out of the way I will say that Dynamite Cop is a worthwhile pick-up. For one it features quite possibly one of the most impressive movelists I've ever seen in the genre, and for a 15-minute long beatemup it also boasts one of the most exhaustive art galleries I've ever seen. It also sort of helps that Dynamite Cop is one of the very few worthwhile beatemups on the Dreamcast(really what else is there? Zombie Revenge?)

Tranquilizer Gun: Also included with Dynamite Cop is a port of this ancient arcade game. You play as a hunter who has to shoot animals until they fall asleep and drag them to your van so they can get thrown into zoos or made into boots. It's slow, clunky, ugly, and really not designed well at all. 

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